Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

Since there is increasing chatter in the profile posts and @atomicbob's system synergy thread, I think Vali 3 should have a dedicated thread.


For high impedance dynamic headphones, Vali 3 is shockingly good, even with the stock tube. Roll in a $25 GE 5670W and be prepared to get off the sub $1k amp merry-go-round.
After shopping around for a cool mean looking bumper for the Jeep, I decided on Next Venture Motorsports Adventure Series. I didn't opt for the stinger bar because I highly doubt I would be taking trails so steep that would risk the Jeep flipping front over and also because it would add weight or possibly crush pedestrians in the head or chest (my son just turned 16 and high-schoolers are on their phone don't look where they walk). I did however opt for the skid plate based on my experience in Moab with the 4Runner last summer (underneath armor is always good). The Next Venture piece caught my eye for several reasons:
  • Bent, shaped and welded in the USA. Colorado.
  • Next Venture has a nice website with manuals, specs, weights, links to videos, etc.
  • Stubby instead of full width, thus exposing the tires and making the Jeep look more scary
  • Three piece. Bumpers are heavy. Three pieces makes dealing with each individual lighter piece easier. Also the design has a separate winch tray, allowing me to ponder about the winch for later without worrying about taking the entire bumper off.

Final piece. The lower skid plate. Had to wait until my kids got home to hold it up.

Looks badass.
A shout out to for lending us the Weiss DAC204. This thread will be new one split from here where it all started: This will on the loaner after I am done with measurements and wrap up with my in-a-nutshell summary.


Weiss DAC204 Coax input 1kHz 0dbFS
I bought this tiny $27.oo amp with a $17.00. Smooth, good detail not sure if the bass is up to par. Im using an Etir with a $6.00 amazon coax cable and cold with any breakin im really enjoing it. A fun amp/dac thats cheap and sounds good, who would of thought. d3.jpg
Time to upgrade the dash speakers in the Jeep. This is how the idea started. My wife's old Sahara had these Mopar headliners for the removable hard tops. My Jeep is the Willys version which is bare bones when it comes to interior, but comes with the rock rails and shocks from the Rubi


Subjective impressions here: The unit is hefty and has a really nice thick metal faceplate. The LEDs are dim and do not blind you.


First set of measurements are SE output. Input is 48kHz 16-bits via coaxial. NOS on. 1kHz 0dbFS
As many of you are aware, I've been emphasizing the importance of system synergy over individual component better-er-ness for some time now. I recently got a ton of stuff in to review. This only confirmed the need for components to play with each well. Of course this doesn't mean bad gear can be made good. But it does mean that gear that doesn't sound all that great in one setup, can sound quite excellent in another with different components.

These are the pieces that I got in:
What I figure I will do is discuss a bit about switching things around, tweaks, combinations that worked (or didn't work) before I split off into individual product reviews and measurements. BTW, the DACs have been sitting around for a few days, left on.
Those who have driven Jeep Wranglers, especially the 2 door with the shorter wheelbase, know how wobbly they can get a highway speeds. Of course there is also the risk of the "death wobble", where the front wheels oscillate from side to side uncontrollably where the only recourse is to completely stop the vehicle. Supposedly the Wrangler JL models released in 2018 did away with the issue, but there are still reports of this occurring. I think there have even been a TSB released regarding this, with Jeep replacing a the steering stabilizer, which is a shock that mounts horizontally to the front axle that dampens steering movement. Evidently the death wobble doesn't just affect Jeeps. I spoke with my neighbor (he's retired but still works on cars) and he mentioned that the Ford F150s were affected by this, and that a change to a better shock fixes the issue. Worn bushings among many other things can also be the cause of the death wobble, but I digress.


I don't have that many my miles on the JL 2-door, but it's been driven off-road quite a bit in demanding terrain. Couple that with bigger 33" tires (285/70/17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers), and we can count of that the stock steering stabilizer shock being kaput. My JL 2-door is the Willys model with the red Rubicon shocks, which still seem good. However, I don't think Jeep/Chrysler/Stellantis/Daimler/Whatever ever gave a crap about the steering shock regardless of model / trim.
What sort of sorcery is this? A few years later (around 2010, if memory serves) at a gathering in a rather dismal industrial area of central LA, rumors began to circulate: Sennheiser was supposedly crafting something intriguing, akin to an HD650 version of the HD800. As with many rumors, this one proved false. Instead, Sennheiser unveiled the HD700, often dubbed as the abomination.



Allow me to progress with the technical analysis of the JAR800 Super Saiyan Edition.
Incidentally, this review will lean towards a stream of consciousness style. Currently, I'm in the process of recovering from COVID. Fortunately, I didn't face any respiratory complications; instead, I've been grappling with intense fatigue, necessitating lengthy naps lasting several hours each day. Feel free to pose any questions to maintain our usual conversational flow.


Two summers back, at the Texas Audio Show, I found myself in the "high-end" room where an intriguing conversation caught my attention. A fellow attendee, deeply engrossed listening to music from the Schiit Folkvangr and Grado GS3000X system, exclaimed, "These headphones are truly exceptional, remarkably neutral." Now, I understand that for those familiar with Grado's signature sound, such a statement might raise eyebrows. However, the attendee seemed genuinely impressed, speaking with unwavering conviction.

Being a devoted fan of Grado myself and entrusted with the Grado guide here, I couldn't help but share the initial skepticism many of you may feel. We all know that Grado headphones come with their own distinct characteristics, but the terms "neutral" and "Grado" (unless referring to the latest X series with the F-cush) aren't typically associated.
Let's compare to HD650 and JAR600 below. Measurements are mostly consistent with my concise subjective impressions here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...sial-hd-660s2-thread.13205/page-4#post-425945. A summary:
  • HD600S2 is more full bodied (or has less bass hump depending how we want to look at it)
  • HD600S2 is recessed in upper mids
  • The funky thing that I mentioned (subjective): HD600S2 has more edge or is more prickly than either JAR600/HD650. The measurements show HD660S2 to have less treble overall from 7-10kHz, but why is this? Could be be the 5.5kHz peak? Let's look at CSD and Burst Attack Envelope later...
  • Measurements alone would suggest that the JAR600 would be more difficult in the highs than the HD660S because the JAR600 has a bump around 8kHz, but I actually found the JAR600 to be more even sounding, less prickly, less edgy, than the HD600S2.
Sennheiser HD660S2 -vs- HD650 (WHT)
A challenge was presented to me requesting I develop an inexpensive electronics learning lab that would

a) engage the student
b) present concepts clearly and concisely
c) be simple to learn and use
d) be hands-on
e) be inexpensive

The initial target audience are my grandchildren. However others may find this interesting and possibly useful.

Primary considerations for measurement devices were simple operation, highly visible large display, inexpensive. Accuracy and features were not a priority.